Thursday, January 28, 2010

Garlicky Shrimp Pasta

Shrimp + Pasta is always a winning combination and this dish was nothing short of deliciousness. The shrimp is marinated in a garlic-infused olive oil mixture, while the base of the sauce is a white wine-butter sauce with a hint of lemon. I loved using short pasta as it makes for an even balance with the size of the shrimp. This is the first time I've used clam juice in a pasta dish, and it added a nice seafood flavor to it. If you don't have clam juice, you can easily substitute shrimp stock, which you can make by reserving the shells from your shrimp. Keep a close eye on the shrimp as it is easy to overcook it. I would also suggest having all your ingredients prepped and ready since the dish comes together very quickly. A light and tasty dish.

Ingredients:
5 medium garlic cloves (5 tsp), minced, plus 4 medium cloves, smashed
1 pound large shrimp (21-25), peeled, deveined, each shrimp cut into 3 pieces*
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
Table salt
1/2 pound pasta in short, tubular shapes, such as fusilli, campanelle, or mezze rigatoni
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry vermouth or white wine
3/4 cup clam juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 Tbsp lemon juice (1/2 lemon) plus 1 lemon, cut into wedges
Ground black pepper

Directions:
1. Toss 2 tsp minced garlic, shrimp, 1 Tbsp oil, and 1/4 tsp salt in medium bowl. Let shrimp marinate at room temperature 20 minutes.
2. Heat 4 smashed garlic cloves and remaining 2 Tbsp oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is light golden brown, 4 to 7 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and use slotted spoon to remove garlic from skillet; discard garlic. Set skillet aside.
3. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large Dutch oven over high heat. Add 1 Tbsp salt and pasta. Cook until just al dente, then drain pasta, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water, and transfer pasta back to Dutch oven.
4. While pasta cooks, return skillet with oil to medium heat; add shrimp with marinade to skillet in single layer. Cook shrimp, undisturbed, until oil starts to bubble gently, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir shrimp and continue to cook until almost cooked through, about 1 minute longer. Using slotted spoon, transfer shrimp to medium bowl. 5. Add remaining 3 tsp minced garlic and pepper flakes to skillet and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
6. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute; stir in vermouth and cook for 1 minute.
7. Add clam juice and parsley; cook until mixture starts to thicken, 4-5 minutes.
8. Off heat, whisk in butter and lemon juice.
9. Add shrimp and sauce to pasta, adding reserved cooking water if sauce is too thick.
10. Season with black pepper. Serve, passing lemon wedges separately.

* Reserve the shells from the shrimp to make easy shrimp stock.

Source: Adapted from America's Test Kitchen

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pepperoni Calzones

Being on vacation, I was looking to make a dish that I normally wouldn't have time for during the week. Not necessarily something difficult, but something that would be time consuming- that's when a fresh-baked bread of some sort came to mind. The dough was incredibly easy (and virtually fool-proof). Just add a few ingredients into the stand mixer and let it "knead" with the dough hook attachment for 10 minutes, followed by a few hours to allow the dough to rise and double in size. The filling is a mixture of cottage cheese (CI recommends ricotta cheese), mozzarella, and Parmesan that is infused with a garlic-red pepper oil. Do not skip this step- it's what sends the flavor of this dish over the top. It provided excellent seasoning and a great base. I added a package of pepperoni slices and omitted the salt. This calzone was creamy, gooey, and so flavorful. I especially liked the crust to filling ratio- I tend to shy away from eating calzones at restaurants since most times, the calzone dough is so thick that it overwhelms the filling inside. But not this one- this has the perfect amount of filling and a tender, fluffy, yet not-so-thick crust... and will make your kitchen smell heavenly of fresh bread.




CI note: To make this recipe, you will need a pizza stone, stand mixer or food processor, and parchment paper. The stone must heat for an additional 30 minutes once the oven has come up to temperature; if your oven heats slowly, begin heating it about an hour into the dough’s first rise. Leftover calzones must be refrigerated; to reheat, heat the oven with the pizza stone just as you did when making the recipe, then set the calzones on the hot pizza stone for about 10 minutes. A simple tomato sauce is a nice accompaniment to the calzones.

For a quick meal, I usually keep Pillsbury's Thin Crust Pizza Dough on hand. The filling recipe will make enough to fill (2) cans. I bake them as directed on the package- 400 degrees for 15-17 minutes on a greased baking sheet. Yield: 8 calzones




Ingredients:
For the Dough
4 cups bread flour (22 ounces) plus additional for dusting work surface
2-1/4 tsp instant yeast or rapid rise yeast(1 envelope)
1-1/2 tsp table salt
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/2 cups water plus 1 Tbsp, 105 degrees
Cooking spray
Plastic wrap

For the Filling
3 medium cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press or minced (~1 Tbsp)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
15-oz whole-milk ricotta or cottage cheese (Used fat-free cottage cheese)
8 ounces shredded fresh mozzarella (2 cups)
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
8-oz pepperoni slices, chopped into quarters
1 large egg yolk
1 Tbsp minced fresh oregano leaves (Used 1/2 Tbsp dried oregano)
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing shaped calzones
Kosher salt for sprinkling

Directions:
For the Dough
1. In bowl of standing mixer, whisk flour, yeast, and salt to combine.
2. Attach bowl and dough hook to mixer; with mixer running at medium-low speed, add olive oil, then gradually add water; continue to mix until mixture comes together and smooth, elastic dough forms, about 10 minutes.


3. Lightly spray large bowl with nonstick cooking spray; form dough into ball, transfer it to bowl, cover bowl with plastic wrap lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, and let rise in warm spot until doubled in size, 1-1/2 to 2 hours.



For the Filling
1. While dough rises, stir together garlic, olive oil, and red pepper flakes in 8-inch skillet over medium heat until garlic is fragrant and sizzling and mixture registers 200 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 1-1/2 to 2 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and cool until warm, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
2. In medium bowl, stir together cheeses, pepperoni, egg yolk, oregano, black pepper, and cooled garlic-pepper oil until combined; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
3. Adjust oven rack to lowest position, set pizza stone on oven rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees.
4. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and spray parchment lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
5. Turn risen dough out onto unfloured work surface. Divide dough in half, then cut each half into thirds.
6. Gently reshape each piece of dough into ball. Transfer to baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Let dough rest at least 15 minutes but no more than 30 minutes.
7. Cut (8) 9-inch squares of parchment paper. Working with one piece of dough at a time and keeping other pieces covered, roll dough into 9-inch round. Set round onto parchment square and cover with another parchment square; roll out another dough ball, set dough round on top of first, and cover with parchment square. Repeat to form stack of 3 rounds, covering top round with parchment square. Form second stack of 3 with remaining dough balls and parchment squares.


8. Remove top parchment square from first stack of dough rounds and place rounds with parchment beneath on work surface; if dough rounds have shrunk, gently and evenly roll out again to 9-inch rounds.
9. Place scant 1/2 cup cheese filling in center of bottom half of dough round. Using small spatula, spread/press filling in even layer across bottom half of dough round, leaving 1-inch border uncovered.


10. Fold top half of dough over cheese-covered bottom half, leaving 1/2-inch border of bottom layer uncovered.


11. With fingertips, lightly press around silhouette of cheese filling and out to edge to lightly seal dough.


12. Beginning at one end of seam, place index finger diagonally across edge and gently pull bottom layer of dough over tip of index finger; press into dough to seal. Repeat until calzone is fully sealed.


13. With very sharp paring knife or razor blade, cut 5 slits, about 11/2 inches long, diagonally across top of calzone, making sure to cut through only top layer of dough and not completely through calzone.


14. With pastry brush, brush tops and sides of calzones with olive oil and lightly sprinkle with salt.
15. Trim excess parchment paper; slide calzones on parchment onto pizza peel or rimless baking sheet, then slide calzones with parchment onto hot pizza stone, evenly spacing them apart.
16. Bake until golden brown, about 11 minutes; use pizza peel or rimless baking sheet to remove calzones with parchment to wire rack. Remove parchment, cool 5 minutes, and serve.
17. While first batch bakes, form second batch and bake after removing first batch.

Yield: (6) 9"x4" calzones

Source: Adapted from Cook's Illustrated

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cream Cheese-Topped Carrot Muffins

I just happened to have some extra carrots leftover from this recipe, and coincidentally came across this recipe. I love carrot cake, and this recipe was in a muffin form. I also had exactly 4-oz cream cheese waiting to be used, and a jumbo muffin pan screaming for attention. While the original recipe looked delicious, I wanted to make it healthier, so I adapted the recipe by adding whole wheat flour, using less sugar, and subbed low-fat yogurt for the oil. The results were moist, light, and chock full of flavor with a dollop of sweetened cream cheese on top. They looked and tasted similar to muffins you'd find at a cafe. An easy and health(ier) breakfast muffin to go.

Carrot Muffins
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
2/3 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
1-1/2 cup shredded carrots (roughly 3-4 carrots, shredded), patted dry
2/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins, soaked in hot water or rum for 10 minutes

Cream Cheese Filling
4 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350. Prepare your muffin tins by greasing with cooking spray or using paper liners.
2. Sift together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar; set aside.
3. In separate bowl, beat the eggs, yogurt, and vanilla together until lightened.
4. Stir in the carrots, walnuts and raisins.
5. In another bowl, cream together the cream cheese filling ingredients; set aside.
6. Fold the dry muffin ingredients into the wet egg/oil mixture and stir until just combined.
7. Fill each muffin cup about ¾ full. Top each filled muffin cup with a generous teaspoon of the cream cheese filling.
8. Bake about 17-25 minutes*, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake part comes out clean.

*If making standard sized muffins, bake for 17-20 minutes.
*If making jumbo sized muffins, bake for 23-25 minutes.

Source: As seen on Joelen's Culinary Adventures, originally from The Delicious Life

Monday, January 25, 2010

Bon Appetit Beef Stew

While I have my go-to beef stew recipe, I always enjoy trying new recipes- even the addition of 1 ingredient or a separate cooking method may enhance the overall recipe and teach me new things in the kitchen. This recipe had the addition of bacon- and who doesn't love bacon? This beef stew yielded a great beef flavor with a slight undertone of bacon. The meat was super tender, and I also added red wine. Overall, an easy stew to prepare and very tasty! The original recipe paired this stew with herbed dumplings, but I paired it with some Garlic Cheese Biscuits which was great accompaniment.

Ingredients:
3-4 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and Pepper
2 Tbsp oil
4 thick-sliced bacon strips, chopped (Used 8 regular-sliced bacon)
3 cups finely chopped onions
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
5-1/2 cups canned beef stock, divided
14.5-ounce can crushed tomatoes with added purée
6 medium carrots, peeled, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
3 medium potatoes, peeled, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
3/4 cup red wine
3 Tbsp cornstarch

Directions:
1. Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 325°F. Pat beef dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. Heat oil in heavy large ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook beef until brown, stirring occasionally and scraping up browned bits, about 8 minutes. Don't overcrowd your pan. Transfer meat to bowl.
3. Add bacon to same pot. Sauté until crisp, scraping up browned bits, about 5 minutes.
4. Add onions, garlic, thyme and bay leaf. Cover and cook until onions are tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
5. Return beef and any accumulated juices to pot. Add 5 cups canned beef broth and crushed tomatoes with purée. Scrape up the brown bits. Cover and bring to simmer.
6. Transfer pot to oven. Bake until beef is just tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour.
7. Add carrots, potatoes, and red wine. Cover; bake until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 30 minutes.
8. Uncover; bake until beef is very tender, about 25 minutes.
9. Whisk remaining 1/2 cup canned beef broth and cornstarch in small bowl to blend. Bring stew to simmer over medium heat. Gradually stir cornstarch mixture into stew. Return stew to simmer, stirring until sauce thickens.

Source: Adapted from Bon Appetit

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes

These were easy to make and took little prep time. The crust/base of these little cheesecakes consist of an actual, whole Oreo cookie. Leaving the cookie intact provides a solid base that gets soft as it bakes and chilled. Additional chopped Oreos get mixed into the cheesecake batter along with sour cream, which adds a a bit of tanginess to the sweetness of the cheesecake batter. These treats are great for parties or a large crowd due to its individual serving size. These treats are rich and creamy.



Ingredients:
42 cream-filled sandwich cookies, such as Oreos, 30 left whole, and 12 coarsely chopped
2 pounds (32-oz) cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup sour cream
Pinch of salt

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.
2. Place 1 whole cookie in the bottom of each lined cup.
3. With an electric mixer on medium high speed, beat cream cheese until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
4. Gradually add sugar, and beat until combined.
5. Beat in vanilla.
6. Drizzle in eggs, a bit at a time, beating to combine and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
7. Beat in sour cream and salt.
8. Stir in chopped cookies by hand.
9. Divide batter evenly among cookie-lined cups, filling each almost to the top. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until filling is set, about 22 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
10. Refrigerate at least 4 hours (or up to overnight). Remove from tins just before serving.

Yield: 30 cheesecakes

Source: Martha Stewart

Monday, January 18, 2010

Chicken, Tomato, and Spinach Soup

The original recipe is based off a recipe from Sparkpeople, but I tweaked it to my liking. It is so simple, easy to prepare, yet flavorful and healthy- My go-to recipe when I’m feeling sick or when I want to eat a light soup.

Ingredients:
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp olive oil
2 cooked chicken breasts, cubed (I season with salt, pepper, and garlic, and pan-fry them)
48 fl. oz can chicken stock (99% fat free) OR 32 fl oz chicken stock + 15 fl. oz chicken broth
14.5-oz can diced tomatoes with basil, oregano, and garlic, undrained
1 package fresh baby spinach
2 tsp dried basil

1. Sauté garlic in olive oil in a soup pot until golden and fragrant.
2. Add chicken broth and cubed, cooked chicken. Bring to a boil, and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.
3. Add tomatoes, spinach, and basil, and cook over medium heat until spinach is wilted.

Note: The original recipe included 8.8-oz package of dried tortellini- add it in after you add the cooked chicken, and cook according to package directions. (I omitted this to make it low-carb.)

Source: Original recipe from Sparkpeople, Edited by me

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Corn on the Cob Cupcakes

For the holidays, I received several cookbooks, and I was thrilled to have received Martha Stewart's Cupcakes book. I had been eyeing this book for a long time, and inside includes wonderful recipes, creative designs, and beautiful photography. For a co-worker's birthday, I decided to bake a cupcake from her cookbook, and took design ideas from one of my other favorite cookbooks- Hello, Cupcake!




I know that we are in the midst of winter, but can you blame a girl for wishing for summer to come soon?



Martha says that I will make these cupcakes again and again, and she was right- they tasted AWESOME. Two types of flour contribute to the cupcakes’ texture: Cake flour results in a delicate crumb, while all-purpose flour keeps them from being too tender. Make sure to have a large bowl ready for the batter- I nearly filled my stand mixer bowl. They were so delicious, and I have found my go-to cupcake recipe.

Buttermilk Cupcakes with Fluffy Vanilla Frosting
Ingredients:
For the Cupcakes
3 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
2-1/4 tsp baking powder
1-1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup + 2 Tbsp butter (2-1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2-1/4 cup sugar
5 large whole eggs + 3 egg yolks, room temperature
2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.
2. Sift together both flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
3. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium.
4. Add whole eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
5. Add yolks, and beat until thoroughly combined. Reduce speed to low.
6. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and beating until combined after each.
7. Beat in vanilla.
8. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until cupcakes spring back when lightly touched and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
9. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 10 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
10. To finish, use a small offset spatula to spread cupcakes with frosting. Refrigerate up to 3 days in airtight containers; bring to room temperature and, if desired, decorate with sprinkles before serving.

Fluffy Vanilla Frosting
1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 pound (4 cups) confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:
1. With an electric mixer, beat butter on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium.
2. Add the confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as needed; after every two additions, raise speed to high and beat 10 seconds to aerate frosting, then return to medium-high. This process should take about 5 minutes. Frosting will be very pale and fluffy.
3. Add vanilla, and beat until frosting is smooth.

If not using immediately, frosting can be refrigerated up to 10 days in an airtight container. Before using, bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.

Yield: 36 cupcakes, 4 cups frosting



Corn on the Cob Cupcakes
Vanilla Frosting
Yellow liquid food coloring
24 Vanilla Cupcakes, baked in white paper liners
3-1/2 cups small yellow, cream, or white jelly beans, such as Jelly Belly*
4 pieces yellow fruit chews, such as Laffy Taffys or Starbursts
1 Tbsp black decorating sugar
1 Tbsp white decorating sugar
8 sets of corn holders (optional)

Directions:
1. Color the frosting pale yellow with food coloring.
2. Working with 3 cupcakes at a time, frost cupcakes with yellow frosting.
3. Arrange 5 rows of jelly beans, close together, on each cupcake.
4. Place the 3 cupcakes side by side on a corn dish or serving platter to resemble an ear of corn.
5. Repeat process with remaining cupcakes, frosting, and jelly beans.
6. Cut the fruit chews into eight 1-inch squares. Soften the edges slightly by hand so that they look like melted butter. (I microwaved the candy for 5 seconds to make it easy to shape/pliable.)
7. Place 1 square on top of each ear of corn. Sprinkle with sugars. Insert a corn holder in the end of each ear of corn, if using. Serve.



* Jelly Bellys- I purchased 1/3-lb and it covered 5 cupcakes.

Source: Cupcake and Frosting recipe from Martha Stewart, Design idea from Hello, Cupcake!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Blueberry-Lemon Yogurt Cake

It is no secret how much I love Ina Garten. Her approach is delicious food that is easily prepared with ingredients most have on hand or is easily accessible. This recipe is one of her most well-known recipes, and easily adaptable by using various citruses (orange, tangerine, lime, grapefruit, etc.) and with the addition of fruits as well. The sweetness isn't overbearing and perfectly balances the tartness from the lemons. The cake is incredibly moist due to the addition of yogurt. I love the flavor combination of lemons with blueberries, so I added 1-1/2 cups of this berry, and the end result was delicious (though certainly not necessary). I mixed the frozen blueberries with the dry flour ingredients- coating the berries with flour will prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the cake. A refreshing and light dessert with a smooth texture- another winning recipe from Ina.



Ingredients:
For the Cake
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1-1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen (I used frozen)
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (Plain or Vanilla would be fine)
1-1/3 cups sugar, divided
4 large eggs
2 tsp grated lemon zest (1-2 lemons)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used coconut oil)
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the Glaze
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. Gently mix in the blueberries until coated.
3. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla.
4. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
5. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
7. Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. (This should only take a few minutes.) Set aside.
8. When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan.
9. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.
10. For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.

Note: I planned on making this for friends, so I used (4) mini loaf pans, and baked them for 35-37 minutes.

Source: Adapted from Ina Garten

Pasta Bravo

With 4" of snow on the ground and freezing temperatures outside, nothing can put a bigger smile on my face than a hot bowl of pasta. Who am I kidding- it doesn't have to be frigid temperatures outside- I can eat pasta (with a big smile) year-round.
Although pasta dishes can be easily made, I love dining out in Italian restaurants. One of my favorite Italian places is Bravo. I'm not one to support chain restaurants, but time and time again, this is the place I can't go without. There hasn't been a meal I've had there that I haven't loved... and one of those meals is their signature pasta dish- Pasta Bravo. Rigatoni pasta is mixed in with wood-grilled chicken and mushrooms in a roasted red pepper cream sauce. (I think a little bit of drool just came out of my mouth.) During one of my visits there, they were promoting their recipes on a CD for customers to purchase online. I not only rushed home to order it, but had it priority mailed to my home. I was so pleased to see this recipe included, but was disappointed that the measurements were huge. Like serving to a restaurant huge. But I was ready to tackle this and modify it to serve 4 servings.



The original recipe states to use "wood-grilled" chicken (uh- who can do this at home?) but we normally buy breaded chicken nuggets (we like Tyson brand) or another option would be to use cubed, rotisserie chicken. We also don't have alfredo sauce "on hand", so we stop over to Olive Garden and pick up a pint of their alfredo sauce (1 pint is $5). Easy peasy. I would not recommend using a store-bought alfredo sauce- it does this dish no justice and the flavor is off. Unless you can make homemade alfredo sauce, I would recommend picking it up at Olive Garden or Bravo. As for the marinara sauce, we have always used just plain marinara sauce (Kroger Private Selection Marinara sauce, to be exact.)
Let me tell you- this dish is creamy, delicious, and extremely easy to make with minimal ingredients!


I know this is a terrible picture, trust me- your taste buds will go WILD for this sauce



Ingredients:
8-oz penne pasta
Cooked chicken (We normally purchase Tyson breaded chicken nuggets)
1 Tbsp butter
8-oz mushrooms, sliced
1 pint (2 cups) alfredo sauce (We pick it up at Olive Garden or Bravo)
1 pint (2 cups) marinara sauce
7-oz roasted red peppers, drained well

Directions:
1. Boil pasta according to package directions. If your chicken needs to be cooked, cook according to package directions.
2. While the pasta and chicken are cooking, melt the butter over medium heat and add the mushrooms. Saute until tender.
3. Place the alfredo sauce, marinara sauce, and roasted red peppers into a blender, and mix well.
4. Plate the pasta, top with chicken and sauteed mushrooms, and pour the roasted red pepper cream sauce on top. Enjoy!

Shrimp & Tomato Pasta with Feta Cheese

This is one of our favorite dishes to make and it is consistently in our weekly menu rotations. Seriously- we groan at every bite, it is that good. We have been making this pasta dish since we've been together and we can't get enough of it! We also love that it is easy to prepare, takes little time to cook, and uses minimal ingredients, mostly which you would have on hand. The original recipe is here, but we've modified it through years of experience and feel that we've finalized this dish to our tastes. The key here is to not overcook the shrimp- shrimp can overcook quickly and result in a tough, rubbery texture and loss of flavor. Watch it carefully- it shouldn't take any longer than 3-5 minutes. Try this- NOW.

Ingredients:
1 tsp olive oil
3/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 garlic cloves, minced
Cooking spray
1/2 cup dry white wine
14.5-oz can diced tomatoes with garlic
3/4 cup (3 ounces) finely crumbled feta cheese
8-oz dry pasta (We usually use penne)

Directions:
1. Boil pasta according to package directions.
2. While the pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the oregano, salt, crushed red pepper, fresh shrimp, and minced garlic; sauté for 3-5 minutes, just until the shrimp is cooked. Spoon the shrimp mixture onto a separate plate.
3. Add wine and tomatoes to skillet; cook over medium heat for 5-6 minutes. This will allow the alcohol and liquids to reduce and concentrate in flavor.
4. Sprinkle in the feta cheese and place the shrimp back in as well. Stir well quickly, and serve over hot pasta.

Source: Adapted from Cooking Light

Buttermilk Pancakes

Growing up, my siblings and I would make pancakes nearly every Sunday- we not only enjoyed cooking it together, but we loved the finished results- which, back then, was the Bisquick mix.



Since then, our flavors have matured and we enjoy experimenting in the kitchen. If you enjoy light and fluffy pancakes- look no further! I reduced the original recipe in 1/3 to accommodate for the 2 of us, but the original recipe is located here.

Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
3 Tbsp milk (Used skim milk)
1 egg
2 Tbsp butter, melted and slightly cooled

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
2. In a separate bowl, beat together buttermilk, milk, eggs and melted butter. Keep the two mixtures separate until you are ready to cook.
3. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. You can flick water across the surface and if it beads up and sizzles, it's ready!
4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, using a wooden spoon or fork to blend. Stir until it's just blended together. Do not over stir!
5. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/2 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Source: Adapted from AllRecipes

Lemon-Garlic Chicken Noodle Soup

Oh, how I loved thee soup... I was looking for a healthy and easy chicken noodle soup, but with a slight twist. Seeing this on an episode of the Rachael Ray show, I loved the combination of lemon and dill in the soup- it offered a refreshing taste on a classic recipe. Perfect for a healthy meal and to keep you warm during the winter months!



This picture looks terrible but I promise it is so delicious!


Ingredients:
1 head garlic
3 Tbsp EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3-4 bay leaves
1 medium onion, quartered
4 carrots, thinly sliced into rounds or matchsticks
2 leeks, thinly sliced (Used a large onion, coarsely chopped)
1 quart (32 fl.oz) chicken stock
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/4 head savoy or green cabbage, thinly sliced
¼ pound thin egg noodles* (Used 1 cup)
Seasoned salt & black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped dill

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
2. Slice the top 1/4-inch off the stem end of the garlic head, exposing the cloves.
3. Place the garlic onto a square of aluminum foil and drizzle with about 1 Tbsp EVOO.
4. Wrap the foil up around the garlic to enclose it and roast it in the oven until golden brown and very tender, about 40 minutes.
5. While the garlic is roasting, place the chicken into a medium pot with the bay leaves and onion.
6. Fill the pot with water and bring up to a simmer until cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.
7. Remove the cooked chicken from the broth, dice into bite-sized pieces and reserve.
8. Strain the cooking liquid, reserving 4 cups worth.
9. Place the pot over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 Tbsp. Add the carrots and leeks to the pan, and cook until tender, about 5-10 minutes.
10. While the veggies are cooking, squeeze the cloves from the head of roasted garlic into a small bowl. Add a splash of stock to the cloves and mash into a paste.
11. To the pot with the carrots and leeks, add the lemon zest, mashed garlic, remaining chicken stock and reserved poaching liquid and bring up to a bubble.
12. Add the cabbage and egg noodles to the pot, and cook until both are tender, 3-4 minutes.
13. During the last minute of cooking, add the reserved chopped chicken to the pot.
14. Season the soup with salt and pepper and stir in the lemon juice and herbs.

* I always tend to decrease the amount of noodles in soup. Pasta added into soups absorbs the broth- increasing the size of noodles, leaving the noodles mushy over time and a decrease in broth. I like to have broth in my soups!

Source: Rachael Ray

Monday, January 11, 2010

Asiago Artichoke Dip

It was mid-afternoon and we were looking for a warm, satisfying snack- something to curb the afternoon hunger, but nothing too filling since dinner was only a few hours away. I love artichoke dips, and ran across this one with asiago cheese. Mmmm. This recipe comes from Jamie, who previously worked at a restaurant called The Delafield Brewhaus (WI). This dip is rich, creamy, and so delicious! We served this dip with pita chips, but it would taste equally good with a fresh loaf of bread.


Ingredients:
1 pound (16-oz) cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup shredded Asiago cheese
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tsp minced fresh garlic
¼ tsp dried thyme
1 cup chopped artichoke hearts, drained (not marinated)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
Chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce* (We used 1 tsp chipotle puree)
For serving- Ciabatta bread, Pita chips

Directions:
1. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl until combined. (I used my stand mixer for this step.)
2. Spread mixture in ungreased 9-inch pie tin or casserole dish. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes or overnight.
3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake dip, uncovered, 10-15 minutes or until browned and bubbly.
4. Serve immediately with warmed ciabatta bread or crackers/pita chips.

* I found chipotle peppers in adobo sauce at my local Whole Foods.

Yield: Makes 8 appetizer servings.

Source: Jamie Cooks

Sugar and Nut Glazed Brie


I love Brie cheese and was looking for a unique topping to place on top of the Brie. Since I was bringing this for a New Year's Eve celebration, I thought the brandied pecans would be the perfect accompaniment. The first step of this recipe is to "marinate" the pecans in brown sugar and brandy. Allow the flavors to marry for 24 hours, and your topping is ready. Melt the brie cheese, add the topping, and allow it to bake for a few more minutes- and voila! Appetizer is complete, and it couldn't be easier.




Ingredients:
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts or pecans
1 Tbsp brandy
1 (14-ounce) round brie (Used 8-oz wheel)
Apple wedges, for serving
Pear wedges, for serving
2-3 Tbsplemon juice
Crackers, for serving

Directions:
1. In a small bowl stir together the sugar, nuts, and brandy. Cover and chill for at least 24 hours or up to 1 week.
2. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
3. Place the brie on an ovenproof platter or pie plate. Bake for 4-5 minutes or until the brie is slightly softened.
4. Spread the sugar mixture in an even layer on top of the warm brie and bake for 2-3 minutes longer, or until the sugar melts.
5. Brush the fruit wedges with lemon juice and arrange them around 1 side of the brie. Place crackers around the other side.

Source: Paula Deen

Fresh Caprese Stacker

An easy, simple, and elegant appetizer. I loved how fresh tasting this was- and also figure-friendly. Make sure to buy fresh mozzarella, usually in a log form. I find this in the specialty cheese section of my local grocer. If you don't have sea salt, kosher salt would be a fine substitution. Perfecto!


Ingredients:
1 crusty baguette
Balsamic Glaze (recipe below)
Fresh basil leaves (About 20 leaves)
4 roma tomatoes, sliced
6-oz fresh buffalo mozzarella, thinly sliced
Olive Oil for drizzling
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Directions:
1. Set your oven to broil and while it heats up slice your baguette into 1/2" slices. Arrange slices on a cookie sheet and place under broiler until the edges become just the slightest bit brown. Flip toasts to the other side and repeat.
2. Now, pour a dollop (a lot or a little depending on your tastes) Balsamic Glaze on one side of toast and spread around.
3. Next, lay one basil leaf, then a tomato slice, and finally a slice of mozzarella on top of toast.
4. Once all stacks are together, drizzle lightly with olive oil and top with fresh cracked pepper. Enjoy!

Balsamic Drizzle
1 cup balsamic vinegar

Place vinegar in a small pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook liquids ~10 minutes until they have reduced be half and achieves a syrup-like consistency. You'll know when it's done when the liquid thinly coats the back of a spoon.

Source: Novice Chef

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Eggnog Cupcakes with Rum-Buttercream Frosting

I loved how tender the crumbs from this cupcake were in this recipe- it was light and flavorful with a hint of rum and eggnog flavors… interesting as that I don’t enjoy eggnog, but really enjoyed these cupcakes. The rum flavor in this frosting, however, overpowered the cupcake- I used dark rum which has a richer flavor. Next time I will decrease the amount of dark rum in half or use a light rum. A cinnamon stick inserted into the cupcake will be an added festive touch.



Ingredients:
For the cupcakes
¼ cup dark rum or bourbon (Used dark rum)
1 cup eggnog
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground nutmeg

For the frosting
¼ cup butter, softened
3 Tbsp eggnog
1 Tbsp rum
Nutmeg, generous pinch
2 (or more) cups confectioners’ sugar
Cinnamon, for sprinkling
Cinnamon sticks, for garnish

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
2. In a small bowl, mix together the rum, eggnog, vegetable oil, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla extract.
3. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.
4. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined.
5. Divide evenly between prepared muffin wells.
6. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cakes spring back when lightly pressed.
7. Cool in the pan 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
8. To make the frosting, cream together the butter, eggnog, rum, nutmeg and confectioners’ sugar. Add in more confectioners’ sugar if needed to make the frosting stiff, but spreadable. Frost the cooled cupcakes.
9. Sprinkle with cinnamon and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Source: Adapted from Baking Bites

Eggnog Cranberry Muffins


I brought these and these Eggnog cupcakes into work for New Year’s Eve. My staff said these were great- they said it wasn’t overly sweet, the crumb texture was light and tender, and they loved the streusel topping. I did sneak a taste, and I loved the tart cranberries combined with the sweet streusel topping, and it added a pretty touch of color. I did add more eggnog than what the original recipe called for- the batter was too thick in the original recipe. I also decreased the almond extract to ½ tsp, as Annie mentioned that this flavor overpowered the taste of the eggnog (edits are reflected in the recipe below.) Otherwise, a great muffin for the holiday season.



Ingredients:
For the muffins
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup eggnog
5-1/3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp almond extract
1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped cranberries + 2 Tbsp sugar

For the topping
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp ground cinnamon
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, slightly softened
1/3 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Line 14-16 muffin cups with paper liners.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir to combine.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, eggs, eggnog, melted butter and almond extract. Stir until well combined.
4. Mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated.
5. Toss the chopped cranberries with sugar, and fold into the batter.
6. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared muffin liners, filling them about 2/3 of the way full.
7. To make the streusel topping, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until a coarse, crumbly mixture forms. Stir in the pecans if using.
8. Sprinkle the topping mixture evenly on top of the muffin batter.
9. Bake for about 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
10. Let cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Yield: 14-16 muffins



Source: Originally from Recipegirl, adapted from Annie’s Eats

My 2nd Favorite Banana Bread

With there being so many recipe variations of 1 recipe out there, and with there being so many recipes I have yet to try, it is pretty difficult for me to say anything is my "favorite". I've been making banana breads since college, but this recipe- it is my 2nd favorite banana bread recipe (this one is my favorite). This bread possesses a deep banana flavor, is not overly sweet, and I just love the cinnamon-sugar coating. I normally like to add a brown sugar-cinnamon streusel topping but with this bread- it isn't necessary. Butter isn't necessary. You can eat this bread just on its own- it is delicious!



Some pointers:
1. This bread makes a lot! I make (4) mini loaves and 1 loaf pan.
2. You'll need a LARGE bowl to make this bread. I used my stand mixer and the ingredients nearly hit the top of my bowl.
3. Once you add the dry ingredients, don't overmix- this will yield in a tough, glue-y texture. Just mix until the dry ingredients are incorporated into the batter- small lumps are ok.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup white sugar (for dusting the pan)
1 tsp ground cinnamon (for dusting the pan)
3/4 cup butter
3 cups white sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
6 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream (Used light sour cream)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp baking soda
4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 cup chocolate chips (Used a combination of white, semi-sweet, and bittersweet chips)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease (4) 7x3 loaf pans.
2. In a small bowl, stir together 1/4 cup white sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon. Dust pans lightly with cinnamon and sugar mixture. (Approximately 2-2.5 tsp cinnamon-sugar mixture per 1 mini-loaf pan.)
3. In a large bowl, cream butter and 3 cups sugar.
4. Mix in eggs, mashed bananas, sour cream, vanilla and cinnamon.
5. Mix in salt, baking soda and flour.
6. Stir in nuts (and other add-ins).
7. Divide into prepared pans.
8. Bake at 300 degrees until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. For mini-loaf pans- 1 hour; For full-size loaf pan- 1-1/2 hours.

Source: Adapted from Cooking with Carrie

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

This dish was been all the rage lately in the blogging world. A handful of Food Network chefs (Ina Garten, Alton Brown) have created their own adaptations, and I’ve also seen various slow cooker recipes on the internet as well. With such a variety of versions available, it can be overwhelming to determine- which version is the best?
I turned to my favorite and failproof source- Cook’s Illustrated. And let me tell you- this version did not disappoint. Darin thought this was one of the best chicken dishes I’ve made. The chicken is roasted in a bed of roasted garlic and shallots, and the sauce is infused with additional roasted garlic, white wine, and chicken broth. The sauce was divine, and the chicken? The skin was crispy and golden brown, and the meat was tender and oh so flavorful. The recipe calls for a lot of garlic, but the flavor really mellows out when it’s roasted. Taste-wise, it was an excellent dish.

Prep work- The preparation of this dish was fairly simple, but there was a brining process and roasting garlic process involved. The recipe states to brine the chicken for 30 minutes- I made the brine mixture (an easy salt and cold water mixture) and placed the chicken into the brine liquid in the morning before I left for work, and completed the recipe when I returned home. I also roasted the garlic in the morning (while I was getting ready for work).



Whole chicken?- To ease the recipe, you can purchase a whole chicken pre-chopped in the meat department or do I what did- use skin-on chicken thighs.

Overall result: Although there was some initial prepwork, it was easy and took no time at all. This was an elegant dish that tasted heavenly.

CI note: Try not to purchase heads of garlic that contain enormous cloves; if unavoidable, increase the foil-covered baking time to 40 to 45 minutes so that the largest cloves soften fully. A large Dutch oven can be used in place of a skillet, if you prefer. Broiling the chicken for a few minutes at the end of cooking crisps the skin, but this step is optional. Serve the dish with slices of crusty baguette for dipping into the sauce and onto which the roasted garlic cloves can be spread.

Ingredients:
Table salt
1 whole chicken (3-1/2 to 4 pounds), cut into 8 pieces (4 breast pieces, 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks) and trimmed of excess fat (Used skin-on chicken thighs for ease and flavor)
Ground black pepper
3 large heads garlic (about 8 ounces), outer papery skins removed, cloves separated and unpeeled
2 medium shallots, peeled and quartered pole to pole
1 Tbsp olive oil, divided
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
¾ cup dry vermouth or dry white wine
¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp unsalted butter

Directions:
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Dissolve ¼-cup salt in 2 quarts cold tap water in large container or bowl; submerge chicken pieces in brine and refrigerate until fully seasoned, about 30 minutes. Rinse chicken pieces under running water and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels. Season both sides of chicken pieces with pepper.
2. Meanwhile, toss garlic and shallots with 2 teaspoons olive oil and salt and pepper to taste in 9-inch pie plate; cover tightly with foil and roast until softened and beginning to brown, about 30 minutes, shaking pan once to toss contents after 15 minutes (foil can be left on during tossing). Uncover, stir, and continue to roast, uncovered, until browned and fully tender, 10 minutes longer, stirring once or twice. Remove from oven and increase oven temperature to 450 degrees.
3. Using kitchen twine, tie together thyme, rosemary, and bay; set aside. (I didn’t use twine; instead I chopped the herbs and set them aside.) Heat remaining 1-teaspoon oil in 12-inch heavy-bottomed ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until beginning to smoke; swirl to coat pan with oil. Brown chicken pieces skin-side down until deep golden, about 5 minutes; using tongs, turn chicken pieces and brown until golden on second side, about 4 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to large plate and discard fat; off heat, add vermouth, chicken broth, and (chopped) herbs, scraping bottom of skillet with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits. Set skillet over medium heat, add garlic/shallot mixture to pan, then return chicken, skin-side up, to pan, nestling pieces on top of and between garlic cloves.
4. Place skillet in oven and roast until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of breast registers about 160 degrees, 10-15 minutes. If desired, increase heat to broil and broil to crisp skin, 3 to 5 minutes. Using potholders or oven mitts, remove skillet from oven and transfer chicken to serving dish.
5. Remove 10-12 garlic cloves to mesh sieve and reserve; using slotted spoon, scatter remaining garlic cloves and shallots around chicken. With rubber spatula push reserved garlic cloves through sieve and into bowl; discard skins. Add garlic paste to skillet. (We removed all the roasted garlic and added it to the dutch oven.)
6. Bring liquid to simmer over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally to incorporate garlic; adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Whisk in butter; pour sauce into sauceboat and serve.

Source: Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Pineapple Blueberry Crunch Cake

5 ingredients and 5 steps created a wonderfully tasty dessert! This is the same as what many people refer to as "dump cake", but I loved the addition of chopped nuts on top- it took the cake to a whole other level. For some reason, the cake didn't "set"- we ended up baking this an additional 20 minutes, and it did set up more as it rested on the counter (though I believe this is more of an operator than recipe error.) This recipe is also versatile- the combinations of fruit filling and toppings are endless. A tasty dessert that is good right out of the oven, at room temperature, and even out of the fridge. We made this for our friend's New Year's Eve party- it would be perfect to pair with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup butter, plus more for dish
1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple, in juice
1 (20-ounce) can blueberry pie filling
1 (18.25-ounce) box yellow cake mix
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 13 by 9-inch casserole dish.
2. Melt 3/4 cup butter in saucepan over low heat.
3. Pour the pineapple with juice into the casserole dish and evenly spread blueberry pie filling on top.
4. Cover with dry yellow cake mix and top with pecans.
5. Drizzle with melted butter and bake for 35-45 minutes.

Source: Paula Deen

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Rustic Lemon-Onion Chicken with a Bed of Spinach

This was another winning recipe from this year’s Next Food Network Star winner, Melissa D’Arabian. This was basically a marsala recipe without the mushrooms. This recipe came together very quickly, and it would be a perfect recipe for a weeknight meal. We thought it was a little heavy on the lemons, so I cut back on the amount (edited recipe below). For aesthetic purposes, I would also coarsely chop the red onions. Otherwise, it was great written as is. (We didn’t make the Spinach bed- since DB doesn’t like it- but I am sure it would also be a winner.)

Ingredients:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, sliced in half crossways (butterflied, cut all the way through)
1 tsp dried thyme, plus 1 small bunch fresh thyme, leaves chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
½ large red onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1-2 lemons, juiced- enough to make 1/8 cup of lemon juice
2 Tbsp butter
Spinach "bed", recipe follows

Directions:
1. Season chicken with dried thyme and salt and pepper.
2. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and add the oil.
3. Dredge the chicken in flour, add to the hot oil and sauté until cooked through.

4. Set chicken aside to rest on plate tented with foil.
5. In same sauté pan, over low heat, add onions and fresh thyme and cook until aromatic.

6. In a measuring cup, measure out wine, broth, and add the lemon juice.
7. Turn the heat up to high, and deglaze the pan with the broth mixture until starting to reduce- approximately 5-7 minutes.
8. Remove the pan from the heat and finish the sauce by whisking in butter.
9. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
10. Place a bed of cooked spinach on a serving platter, top with the chicken.
11. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve.

Spinach "bed"
1 bag pre-washed fresh spinach
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon butter
1 lemon, juiced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
1. Microwave spinach in a microwave-proof dish with a few tablespoons of water on high for 5 to 6 minutes, or until hot.
2. Drain, and toss with butter, lemon juice, and salt and pepper, to taste.

Source: Melissa D’Arabian
 
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